Identification of Coarse Earthenware Potters on Production and Consumption Sites in Charlestown, Massachusetts Using Biometric Identification

Author(s): Jennifer Poulsen; Joseph M. Bagley

Year: 2016

Summary

Every so often, the fingerprints of potters are left in the wet clay of coarse earthenware vessels.  Many of these evocative "signatures" have been observed on redware that was excavated from the 18th-century Parker-Harris Pottery Site and Three Cranes Tavern Site in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  Using a short-range 3D laser scanner to capture this data, a small comparative data set was compiled to determine if these biometric identifiers (finger and hand prints) could be used to directly connect a pottery production site with a pottery consumption site.  In addition, this biometric data has the potential to determine a minimum number of individual potters, offer relative dates, and speak to the gender/age and length of service of individual potters.   The end product of this pilot study is a visual reference collection of fingerprints that has potential to expand in hopes of establishing previously-unknown associations and commercial networks of domestic redware potters across the eastern United States.

Cite this Record

Identification of Coarse Earthenware Potters on Production and Consumption Sites in Charlestown, Massachusetts Using Biometric Identification. Jennifer Poulsen, Joseph M. Bagley. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434286)

Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 438